Android Operating system features some rich Location based services which are included in the Google Search and Google Now which will work according to your current location. The Location based services helps in finding your required criteria like ATM machines, Gas stations in the nearby vicinity. These features are used often in day-to-day life and you might think of thanking Google for these wonderful features. But we probably think you should hold that appreciation for a little longer as Google is now working on a new service called the Google Nearby.
Google Nearby is a location-based service that is intended to connect, share, and do more with people, places, and things near you. The Nearby service further mentions that,
When Nearby is turned on for your account, Google can periodically turn on the mic, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and similar features on all your current and future devices. Google+ and other Google services need this access to help you connect, share, and more.
When you turn on Nearby, you’re also turning on Location History for your account and Location Reporting for this device. Google needs these services to periodically store your location data for use by Nearby, other Google services, and more.
So when the Nearby is activated on your Android device, the Nearby service will periodically listen in to search for devices around you via Bluetooth, or in the same WiFi network. The service can also turn the mic on your device to determine what is around you. This also triggers the location history as well as location reporting through which Google can able to monitor your device continuously to obtain required data and then it stores it on the Google servers.
This definitely raises a huge question about privacy, but according to our information, Users will be able to choose who and what they are visible to. This will presumably put a limitation on the Nearby which will restrict its communication to unknown or blacklisted persons or devices. But even with the limitations implemented on this service it poses a huge threat to privacy as Google can automatically access your mic and record the things which is definitely scary.
However to protect the privacy, the information gathered from these various sources on your device would travel to Google servers, which would match devices’ recordings and send an acknowledgement back telling the devices to connect, without either device actually getting hold of the monitored data. Even with the sugar-coating techniques, it poses a vulnerability to the privacy as the government surveillance increased on the private devices, and other alleged reports say that NSA can access Google’s servers at will which may compromise the privacy.
However Nearby offers a connected world which is definitely a pavement to a developed future. This will make the devices a lot smarter, which lets them interact with each other comfortably without any intervention from the user. Google should include certain security management services before launching the Nearby with full functionality to make Android users comfortable with the new location-based service. Moreover, we don’t want technology to surpass our freedom and privacy right?
There are no reports on when the service will be announced officially but announcing at the Google I/O conference will definitely attract a lot of crowd.
Via Android Police